Captain James Ellis Criner, Sr., retired Navy, age 95 of Murfreesboro, TN, loving husband of Ruth Criner, passed away of natural causes on December 29, 2013 peacefully at home surrounded by his family.
Born in Ripley, TN, February 12, 1918. James was the son of the late James Alfred and Rose New Criner.
James joined the military at the age of 17 and was one of the first two "mustangs" in the Navy (an enlisted sailor allowed to acquire officer status). He earned his bachelors degree in Electronics Engineering at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, CA and later taught in Annapolis at the US Naval Academy, including star student Roger Staubach. A veteran
(both theaters, Atlantic and Pacific), The Korean War
, The Cuban Missile Crisis blockade, and The Vietnam War
, he retired after 42 years of service to his country in 1977. His final tour of duty was as Commanding Officer of the US Naval Electronics Systems Engineering Center Command in Charleston, SC.
James and his wife moved to Murfreesboro in 1990 to be closer to their family. They were active at the senior center, including the line dancing group that entertained at nursing homes in the area, they attended classes regularly at the Sports Com, he kept his mind sharp for years, continuing his education with computers and daily crossword puzzles. In his spare time, he baked cookies and bread for friends, neighbors, and grandchildren.
In addition to his loving wife Ruth of 68 years, he is survived by sisters, Margaret Craddock, Patti Ware and Sue Dowty; sons, James Ellis Criner, Jr., David Hall Criner and wife Patricia Gunter, George Keith Criner, PHD and wife Francie; daughter, Nancy Suzanne Criner Vaughan; grandchildren, Elizabeth Anne Criner, Robert Ellis Criner, Lora Suzanne Criner, William Thomas Criner, Austin Gunter Criner, Amanda Keck Criner, PHD, Ryan George Criner, Dustin Criner Vaughan; great-grandchildren, Delphi Willow Walsman and Ellis Hayem Criner.
A funeral service will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Thursday, January 2, 2014 at Jennings & Ayers. Visitation will follow the service on Thursday until 1 p.m. Burial will be Monday, January 6, 2014 at Middle Tennessee State Veterans Cemetery, Pegram, Tennessee with full military honors.
Memorials may be made in lieu of flowers to the
Jennings and Ayers Funeral Home, 820 S. Church St., Murfreesboro, TN 37130 (615) 893-2422. Condolences may be made to the family by visiting www.jenningsandayers.com